Introduced to me by the outstanding theological work of James Alison (see for example his Tablet article Girard’s Breakthrough), I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Philosopher Rene Girard. He was 91 years old and died November 4th 2015.
“…International leaders read him, the French media quoted him. Girard influenced such writers as Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and Czech writer Milan Kundera – yet he never had the fashionable (and often fleeting) cachet enjoyed by his peers among the structuralists, poststructuralists, deconstructionists and other camps. His concerns were not trendy, but they were always timeless.
In particular, Girard was interested in the causes of conflict and violence and the role of imitation in human behavior. Our desires, he wrote, are not our own; we want what others want. These duplicated desires lead to rivalry and violence. He argued that human conflict was not caused by our differences, but rather by our sameness. Individuals and societies offload blame and culpability onto an outsider, a scapegoat, whose elimination reconciles antagonists and restores unity…”
The online article from which these two paragraphs were taken can be found here.
The introduction to Girard on my library shelves is the very good Discovering Girard by Michael Kirwan. (DLT: London, 2004)